What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is important if you have a blog or run a website for your business, I am pretty sure that you have heard the term at least once. So, what exactly is it and what does it do?
Google Analytics is a free web service that helps you track user activity on your website. It will help you to better understand what works and what doesn’t on your website.
Google Analytics can help you find out how many people are visiting your site within a certain period, which pages are they visiting and where they are located. Additional information around what search terms led them to your site is also available. Google Analytics is a very useful tool for bloggers and business owners because the information that you can glean, can help you focus on the things that you can leverage to reach more people and increase your conversions.
Part 1: How to set up Google Analytics for your website
1. You will need to set up a Google Analytics account in order to use their free services. If you have an existing account with any of their services and platforms like Gmail or YouTube, you can use that information to create a Google Analytics account by going to www.Google.com/analytics and logging in.
Once logged in, follow the steps to set up a website account. You will be presented with the Google Tracking Code. Copy the entire tracking code because you will need to place this on your site for the service to work.
2. Now that you have your tracking code, you need to add this into the HTML of your site. Log into your CMS and go to your site’s HTML code then paste your Google Analytics tracking code right before the closing head tag and into every web page that you want to track. Make sure that you paste the entire code unaltered.
Many Content Management Systems have ‘plugins’ which enable you to install your tracking code to all pages via a couple of simple steps (which they will walk you through).
3. Once you have installed your tracking code on your website, you need to check if you if you were able to install it correctly.
A Few hours later, go back to your Google Analytics account and go to Admin > Tracking Info > Tracking Code > Tracking Status Information. If it says “waiting for Data”, it means Google Analytics is still working on gathering data into the reports. If it shows “Tracking Installed”, congratulations! It means the code is working and Google Analytics has started pulling data from your site already.
5 Important things businesses can learn from Google Analytics
1. Find out where your readers are located.
With Google Analytics, you can check your visitors’ location as well as demographics. With this information, you can properly target these visitors with your content or ad strategy for a higher conversion.
2. Learn what keywords bring visitors to your site from search engines as well as find out what people are searching for within your site.
Always good to know this….however, Google does retain a significant amount of this data under “not provided” usually due to individuals being logged into a Google product and other non-disclosed ‘features’. Regardless of this, it will still give you some idea of what is driving traffic to your site.
3. Find out what your top content is.
Google Analytics and show you which content are performing well including the number of views, average time spent on a specific page as well as where they browse to afterwards. This vital information can help you curate or create more similar content that is in demand.
4. Find out what people are not reading or visiting on your site.
Aside from knowing what your top content is, you will know which content is considered “not interesting” to your target audience. This knowledge provides a better understanding of where you should focus your efforts for blogging.
5. What devices people are viewing your site on.
The nature of how people view sites these days is rapidly evolving to include tablets and mobile phones, and desktops. Google Analytics will highlight the amount of traffic coming from each device type. You find the importance of your site being accessible from more than just your desktop.
Installing Google Analytics is free but the information that you can get out of it is priceless. Being able measure and understand the flow of traffic to your website is a great asset for any business.